January 14, 2012 | Barb Carr

Career Development: The Happiness Advantage

I am a positive person by nature, and I’ve read many books on positive thinking. However, I’ve never read anything that I felt would be useful to someone who views the world through a more critical lens. Even though I enjoy positive psychology books, I recognize most are a little too “hearts & flowers” to influence a true change in others. That is, until I read “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” (Shawn Anchor). I think this is one book that every manager should read.

The reason I think this is because the author writes about seven actionable “happiness” principles proven to improve human performance. It’s not a “don’t worry, be happy” sing-a-long, it’s practical.

If you are like me, you will probably recognize a couple of the principles and realize you’ve been using them your entire life. For example, “The Tetris Effect” is when you train your brain to see the positives more than the negatives. Our brain takes in so much information each day that it has to filter much of it out. Which do you choose?  The positive or the negative?  In this video, the author explains the principle in more detail:

Improving our skill in reducing negativity in the workplace will reduce stress, increase productivity and decrease turnover.  Not only that, it’s good for our own career development.  Most people believe that hard work alone predicts success, and after they become successful, they will finally be happy.  What if happiness itself influences our successes?  What if it accelerates our successes?  What if we can be happy now because Douglas Adams (English humorist and science fiction novelist) was on to something when he said, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”  Don’t wait for the next promotion to be happy … test it yourself by learning the simple principles in “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.”

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